Let Bead Embroidery Take You By Surprise in Kinga Nichols’ Online Workshops

Part of the fun of bead embroidery is allowing the combinations of components to surprise you. So says Kinga Nichols in her series of five online workshops in which she shares her process for creating masterfully cohesive and creative pieces. Just gazing at Kinga’s handiwork is enough to ignite anyone’s imagination.

If you’re itching to tackle new challenges or trying to break out of a creative rut, Kinga’s workshops will open your eyes to new possibilities. And if you’re fascinated by this art form but need a beginner-friendly introduction, don’t miss Tammy Honaman’s workshop Learn How to Embroider with Seed Beads.

Kinga Nichols

Let your collection of buttons and other components draw you in as you seek to create a harmonious beaded piece with layers of dimensionality.

Get Dimensional with Layered Components

Do you have a box of treasured buttons or vintage bits and pieces that you keep for potential designs? In 3D Layering Bezels, Kinga tips over her box of antique buttons (affiliate link) to scatter an array of inspirational items that can be layered to create sculptural focals: coconut shell buttons (affiliate link), mother-of-pearl buttons, metallic discs, crystals, pearls, and rhinestones.

Challenge yourself to find components that come alive when combined, with the goal of creating a unified, dimensional form. This is where you work your magic to build “your own beaded universe,” as Kinga says. “What we’re trying to achieve here is to create something entirely new from a bunch of different materials that still feels like a comprehensive whole.”

She recommends picking a theme and developing it. An important part of the process is finding the balance between embellishing each object with beaded bezels and letting the component itself shine through.

bead embroidery

Though challenging, focals with holes and angular edges provide great design opportunities.

Embrace Unusually Shaped Focals

Flat, circular objects are easy to invite into your bead embroidery, but other objects are not so straightforward. Do you have some beloved bits that have angular sides, concave edges, perforations, or backs that don’t sit flat? These are just the kinds of components that are easily collected but often passed over for use in a project. It’s time to shake things up and let them shine!

In Unusually Shaped Focals, Kinga shows you several creative tactics you can use to incorporate these treasures, from how to use double-sided tape as a secret weapon to how to let the unique shape of the item guide your design.

Kinga Nichols

A closure can either integrate so seamlessly with the design as to be nearly invisible (left) or boldly contrast with the piece for dramatic emphasis (right).

Don’t Underestimate Closures

Rather than an afterthought, closures are a significant part of the design process. Kinga stresses the importance of planning ahead for the ideal closure since it can make the difference between a piece that will be worn and a piece that stays in the drawer (or on the booth shelf, if you’re trying to sell it.)

In her Closures workshop, Kinga covers a variety of her favorite types: box clasps, tube clasps, bead slides, hook and eye closures, snaps, toggle clasps, trailer hitches, and buttons. There’s more to choosing a closure than meets the eye; in addition to aesthetics, you have to consider function and wear. You’ll also learn the subtle art of how best to complement your design – either by blending in to let the piece itself bask in the spotlight, or by adding dramatic contrast for a design that pops.

Kinga Nichols

Kinga has lots of reassuring tips on troubleshooting common problems with your embroidery.

Persevere through Common Mistakes

We’ve all felt the bitter disappointment of a piece we’ve poured our heart into that doesn’t turn out right. Whether the piece is too small or too big, the components fall off, or the beads don’t align, we’ve all made these mistakes. Kinga’s advice? Cheer up, don’t panic, and focus on finding a solution — because plenty of mistakes can be fixed.

In Troubleshooting, you’ll learn how to salvage your projects with creative solutions, from tricks like swapping clasps to extending bracelets with additional seed beads.

Kinga Nichols

Learn Kinga’s strategies for giving your piece that just-right feel.

Bring Everything Into Balance

Last but not least, Kinga dives into the art of Finishing Touches, the key to making your piece feel exactly right. This process involves planning at every stage, from how to choose foundation, embroider your design, back the piece, and embellish it with edge stitching. Careful consideration at each step will leave you with a piece that transcends ordinary.

Kinga’s thoughtful, thorough, and artistic advice shines through in this set of five online workshops. Check them out and see what embroidery designs emerge for you. You might astonish yourself.

Go be creative!
Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group

Featured Image: Kinga Nichols’ creativity and mastery is visible in each of her beautifully bead-embroidered pieces.

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